The open enrollment period for
2019 health insurance coverage through Marketplaces and other individual plans
is almost here. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has
what you need to know to enroll.
Consumers in most states use the
federal Marketplace through Healthcare.gov.
In Alabama, open enrollment runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.
Those who currently have
Marketplace coverage or need it in 2019 should take the time to shop for plans.
If you already have coverage through a Marketplace plan, review your
information to make sure it is accurate. You can update your application with
any income and/or household changes. You might qualify for a different amount
of help with costs or find a different plan that costs less or better meets
Learn more about the basics of
health insurance and what
you need to know to enroll through the marketplace.
If your plan is no longer available
in 2019, you should receive a notice from your insurer and from the
Marketplace. Even if your plan is continuing, it pays to shop and check whether
the doctors or hospitals your family uses are in the plan networks.
If you're looking for a new plan,
there are four categories of health insurance plans to choose from on the
Marketplace (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum). They're broken up by how costs
are shared between you and your insurer. A fifth category, Catastrophic, is
available for consumers under 30 years of age or who face a hardship in
accessing the other plans. Learn more about
the different plans and network types.
not be a penalty for not having minimum essential coverage. Before,
consumers would pay a penalty if they were not enrolled in a health plan.
Starting Jan. 1, 2019, that tax penalty is eliminated. If you don't have major
medical health insurance for the 2019 coverage year, you'll be on your own for
major health care costs, but you won't be penalized at tax time.
limited duration options may offer lower premiums, but they won't cover as
much. Short-term, limited duration insurance is not available through
the Marketplaces, but you may see it offered elsewhere. It allows for coverage
to fill temporary coverage gaps. While they're typically cheaper than the
Marketplace and other individual market health plans, there are usually limited
benefits, broader exclusions and higher levels of consumer cost-sharing. Before
signing up for a short-term plan, it's important to think through what health
care services you and your family may need and check whether those services are
be more direct enrollment options. This means you might sign up
for a Marketplace plan even without visiting HealthCare.gov. You might use an
insurer's website or a third-party website. These sites might offer you other
types of coverage too, so look closely to know what you're buying. Remember,
you can always use HealthCare.gov or
your state's Marketplace if you want to be sure to get the protections of the
you have questions,
contact the Alabama Department of Insurance at 334-269-3550. For more information on
NAIC activity on health care reform, visit the Health Care Reform